INGRAM DIPS UNDER QUALIFYING LAP RECORD
Tom Ingram immediately showed the prowess of the new BTCC Hybrid era as the Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com racer dipped under the existing qualifying lap record at Donington Park in the opening free practice session of the 2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.
Ingram’s 1:08.792s lap time in his striking Hyundai i30N was more than two tenths faster than Gordon Shedden’s previous benchmark, as the EXCELR8 squad continue to quietly go about their business ahead of the new campaign.
“When we came here for the pre-season test, the car just felt fantastic,” said Ingram. “We’ve worked so hard with it over winter and with the hybrid weight, that’s been quite key for us over the winter as well. We kind of carried that weight last year so this is effectively a very similar car to what I was driving all of last year with [success ballast.]
“So from that perspective, we’ve kind of already had a bit of a head start because we had last year to develop it, as well as a few other tweaks that we’ve made over the winter of course. So far, no big complaints. The car feels absolutely fantastic and it’s nice to get out of a Free Practice 1 session and know the balance feels great. It feels in a nice place at the moment.”
Three particular models filled the top seven positions during FP1 as NAPA Racing UK also signalled their intent with Dan Cammish and Ash Sutton coming home second and third respectively in the Ford Focuses.
BMWs occupied fourth, sixth and seventh with Adam Morgan, Jake Hill and George Gamble filling those positions.
Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport will be particularly bouyed as the Lancastrian squad embarks on its second season with the BMW 3 Series.
Morgan – a proven race winner – will be looking to lead the fight for his team, but rookie Gamble has kicked off his BTCC career in impressive fashion with a solid opening run.
Daniel Lloyd was amongst the BMWs in fifth as the EXCELR8 Motorsport man backed up team-mate Ingram at the sharp end of the timesheets.
Scotsmen Gordon Shedden (Halfords Racing with Cataclean) and Rory Butcher (Toyota GAZOO Racing UK) were eighth and ninth, whilst Stephen Jelley pipped Team BMW stablemate Colin Turkington to tenth.
All 28 cars completed laps during the session, with Rick Parfitt entering the fray in his Team HARD-run Infiniti Q50 following a relatively frustrating pre-season.
The only incident of note during the session was a late off-track excursion for Josh Cook’s Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda, which will now need to be repaired before the next session.
The 2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will be back on track for FP2 at 1215, with qualifying for the opening round – streamed live on www.itv.com/btcc – scheduled from 1525.
2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 1 – Donington Park
1. Tom INGRAM (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com 1:08.792s
2. Dan CAMMISH (GBR) NAPA Racing UK +0.368s
3. Ash SUTTON (GBR) NAPA Racing UK +0.377s
4. Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +0.401s
5. Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +0.411s
6. Jake HILL (GBR) ROKiT MB Motorsport +0.523s
7. George GAMBLE (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +0.603s
8. Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.627s
9. Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota GAZOO Racing UK +0.636s
10. Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +0.688s
11. Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.691s
12. Jason PLATO (GBR) Rich Energy BTC Racing +0.745s
13. Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan +1.034s
14. Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing +1.079s
15. Michael CREES (GBR) CarStore Power Maxed Racing +1.183s
16. Ricky COLLARD (GBR) Toyota GAZOO Racing UK +1.225s
17. Josh COOK (GBR) Rich Energy BTC Racing +1.228s
18. Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero +1.263s
19. Jade EDWARDS (GBR) Rich Energy BTC Racing +1.372s
20. Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.406s
21. Ash HAND (GBR) CarStore Power Maxed Racing +1.488s
22. Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan +1.511s
23. Dexter PATTERSON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.563s
24. Tom CHILTON (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +1.625s
25. Nic HAMILTON (GBR) Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing +1.951s
26. Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +2.314s
27. Jack BUTEL (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +2.515s
28. Rick PARFITT (GBR) Uptonsteel with Euro Car Parts Racing +3.083s